I do not believe in “new year new me” even though this post sounds like it. But I do believe in reflection as a part of growth, and this reflects me.
When I look back over my 36 years of life, the number one thing that has held me back has been my value.
For a number of reasons, I did not value myself (you can insert those here). My inability to honor myself created a process of devaluation that has lasted for years, my self-esteem gnawing away at my self-image and self efficacy. Each person I met also met my uncertainty at my own worthiness and used it against me by paying far less than my ability should have commanded; by taking the freely offered sacrifice of myself while placing little to no respect in that sacrifice; by passing over me, knowing that I would not complain because I did not believe I deserved anything more than what I got.
2014 was a watershed for me. Life stripped me down to the bare and broken pieces left over from years of perceived worthlessness. I looked at myself and thought for the first time, I am more than this. I began to visualize the person that I really was, casting myself in the purpose to which I was destined. I recognized all the times that people–especially people whom I had loved wholeheartedly–had devalued my feelings, opinions, talents, and spiritual gifts. I also realized that many people saw me and deeply valued me, but I had not accepted their honor and respect. I had been too low to receive it.
I spent time forgiving others for their misuse of me, then forgiving myself for allowing it. I sought out those who loved me fully and cut ties (one at a time) with those who chose to see me as less than I am. Now I am sharing my heart to those all around willing to listen so that you can experience freedom too.
If you are (for whatever reason) a late bloomer like me, do not give up. There is a life waiting for you that will make it all worthwhile. In order to get there, you simply have to make a few changes.
1. Understand that God loves you no matter what. A guaranteed trick used against you is condemnation, which is the attitude that you deserve punishment for your mistakes and you are unworthy of love. That simply is not the will or heart of God. Condemned people never feel they are worth anything more than the least of consideration. God loves you eternally and wants you to see the value that He sees in you. Forget what all these gloom and doom Christians are talking about–God LOVES YOU, okay?
2. If you feel bad about yourself all the time, you may just be hanging around a bunch of assholes. Let’s be honest: if enough people tell you a lie you will start to believe it. This happened to me for so long that I cried when I realized the lie. Some people just hate to see you dream big or pursue passions, and spend their lives wearing you down with negative images of yourself…even when you are a child. Also, the people you spend time with may actually have the same problem as you. They don’t see their own value and see none in you either because misery loves compnay, right?
3. Find the thing that brings you joy and do it as much as possible. I could come up with a thousand reasons for this but the first one? Engaging in what you enjoy gives you peace, and peace makes room for clarity. I love to write. Every time I write I understand something about myself and my situation that elevates me, bringing me closer to the woman I see inside my head. God gives me wisdom when I write; and I find healing there, too. Everybody has a thing that takes them to a place of peace and understanding. Find yours; there you will find your value.
This is the year of you loving and valuing yourself. I am praying that you find that perfect seed of yourself and cultivate it into the you that you have always wanted to be.